On Sept. 15, 2021, the Whittier College COVID-19 Compliance Task Force sent out an email to all of the Whittier College campus community to update on new testing procedures that will be implemented moving forward. These new changes are meant to help slow the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Newly reported data shows that there have been 14 positive cases on campus since school started in August.
The new plans state that the College will be “offering COVID-19 testing on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.” Testing will take place in the lower level of the Campus Center in Club 88. Walk-ins will only be available during the times listed previously, and if you cannot come in during the allotted time, you will have to “call the Health Center to make an appointment.”
The College will be utilizing tests from the company Shield T3. Their mission statement states that they were “created to expand the reach of saliva-based COVID-19 testing pioneered by researchers at the University of Illinois. Shield T3 provides a comprehensive solution to curb and control the spread of COVID-19. Our ecosystem of “Test, Tell, Target” allows early identification of infected individuals through our highly sensitive tests, enabling rapid quarantine of infected individuals, allowing organizations to take decisive action and minimize outbreaks if they occur.” The saliva-based tests will allow quick same-day results.
The email sent to students states a number of ways to prepare for one’s test. Students have been asked not to “eat, drink, smoke, chew gum, or wear lipstick at least one hour before the test collection.” Masks must be worn at all times except when collecting the saliva and, students must sanitize hands before and after testing. A video from “Shield T3” has been linked in the email demonstrating the process of before, during, and after students have been tested for COVID-19. After the test has been completed, students will be sent an email and a text message notifying them of their test results.
The tests are not open to the entirety of the student body as the school has placed regulations on who is permitted to be tested on campus. It was stated that “all exempt or partially vaccinated students, employees, contracted workers, and on-campus volunteers” must be tested weekly until they can provide proof of full vaccination status. The email continues and states that “All students, employees, contracted workers, or on-campus volunteers who have not yet submitted vaccine verification or an exemption request” are required to be tested weekly. Students who have been near someone who has tested positive and/or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and all athletes before being in any competition are also being required to get tested. Personnel who are exempt, partially vaccinated, or have not submitted verification of receiving the vaccine are mandated to be tested every week. People who are allowed to get tested are “all employees and contracted workers experiencing COVID-related symptoms,” “all employees and contracted workers who’ve been exposed to a positive case,” and “employees and students who are required to test in order to participate in off-campus activity directly related to their College responsibilities or classes.” Students will receive an email letting them know if they are required to be tested and failure to do so will result in disciplinary action. Testing for travel or personal reasons is strictly prohibited.
New testing policies are here at Whittier College to help diminish the COVID-19 pandemic from causing any harm to the students, staff, employees, and other personnel who live, work, and learn on campus. If you have any questions you can contact the COVID-19 Compliance Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured Image: Sage Amdahl / Quaker Campus